Yes folks, it's true. They look like us. They talk like us. But how do you spot one? Well, it's easy. Just start talking about social media, and you'll soon single them out.
I recently attended a get together of friends, many of whom I connect with on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the more traditional methods of chatting together over a glass of wine. Inevitably, talk turned to anecdotes of comments that had been found on Facebook, the funniest You Tube videos we'd seen, and articles of interest that had been shared online.
Then, a small voice piped up from the corner of the room: “What is Facebook exactly?
The question was met with silence and concerned looks. After all, everyone knows what Facebook is, don't they? You'd need to be an alien from another planet not to know, wouldn't you?
The Wikipedia definition of Facebook is “a social network service and website launched in February 2004“. Google the question, and the search results throw up phrases which are not dissimilar. But does that actually explain social media? What it does?
In other words, just how would you describe Facebook to an alien?
I see it as the responsibility of the social media consultant to do just this. To get back to basics, and describe the networks, and what they can do, in simple, understandable terms. To remember that social media can be a scary place; and to lead business owners into it gently. To narrow the focus so that there is understanding of what it can do, and how it works. Not to shower clients with buzz words, and turn it into a dark art – with demistification coming at a price.
Social media should be explained in such a way that people can begin to understand what's in it for them; and to gain confidence in their own abilities in entering this new realm. Don't scoff at newcomers; those who know less than you do. They're not aliens – but they do need to understand what social media is all about.
So, next time someone asks you “Just what is Facebook?” – what are you going to say?